Thursday 11 April 2013

Four To Square and Pack-Man

Four To Square
I have a little time spare today so I thought I'd write a blog post. To be honest, I haven't really been puzzling for a few weeks, nor have I bought any new puzzles. The main reason for this is lack of funds. I have a few large outgoings coming up, ie. car insurance, car tyres, motorbike MOT and service, motorbike insurance.

Regardless, I managed to grab a few inexpensive puzzles, both of which are packing puzzles, which I'm writing about today.

I read about both these puzzles on my fellow blogger's sites and contacted the makers, who just so happened to have some to send me.

First up then is the Four To Square by Jacques Haubrich. Fortunately for me I managed to bag his last one, but if you're interested he might have made some more. The puzzle was entered into the 2011 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in Berlin.

Anywho, it's a great packing puzzle made out of stainless steel so it has a nice weight to it. The tray is 7.25cm square and the inset it 6cm square. The pieces are all 2mm thick and fit flush when packed into the tray. There are four pieces which are a slightly different shade to the tray, giving it a nice look once completed.

Four To Square

You'd naturally assume that the less pieces makes it easier to solve, which I did, but you'd be wrong. It's actually has a good difficulty to it. The irregular shapes with all their angles make it trickier by giving you lots of possible orientations for the pieces, even though two of them are identical.

Overall, it took me a good 2-3 hours playtime to figure out (I'm not so great with packing puzzles!!) and I was very satisfied with myself when I got the solution. The size makes this a great puzzle just to slip into the pocket and carry around with you and, because it is made from steel, it will stand up to a good few knocks (and/or frustration!!!). Definitely a good buy!!

Jerry's review can be found here on his blog, Jerry's Small Puzzle Collection.

Next one is Pack-Man which is made by Chris Enright. Obviously it's a wordplay on the ever popular arcade game from the 1980s, Pac-Man, but incorporating the fact that it's a pack-ing puzzle!! Genius if you ask me. Chris entered this one into the 2012  Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in Washington D.C..

Anywho, as you can see there are five pieces shaped like the characters from the game, Pac-Man and four Ghosts. The pieces are laser cut from acrylic in the various colours and the tray is printed on a 3D printer with the name of the puzzle and Chris' initials on the bottom. I really like the choice of materials for this puzzle. The colours are very vivid, being acrylic, and match the colours in the Pac-Man game. The tray has a nice texture to it, though I'm not sure if it's a result of the 3D printing or intentional. Obviously the puzzle isn't very weighty and the pieces will probably get a little scratched over time, but it definitely wouldn't have looked as good in stainless steel, and visa versa!!!

Pack-Man Detail
The puzzle then, well it's a toughie!!! Definitely the hardest packing puzzle I've ever played with, albeit that number quite small, but I'm sure there won't be many more in the future that surpass this. There just seems no possible way that these five pieces can fit into the tray. Obviously they must and it must be with the help of the subtleties between each of the pieces, but I can't for the life of me find it. I've had the puzzle since the 18th of March and it's had me stumped since then.

I shall definitely continue puzzling over it and I shall update you when I solve it or give in and ask for help!!!

I believe Chris still has some available, so contact him if you're interested.

Jerry's review can be found here, again on his blog, and Allard's review is here on his blog, Puzzling Times.

Both Jacques' and Chris' emails can be found on the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition website  here under their respective years. Alternatively drop me an email and I'll be happy to pass them along.

That's all for now!!!

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